Remodeled Showroom Re-Opens With a Flash
By Elizabeth Friszell
FRANKLIN, VA Hurricane Floyd may be a distant memory for most
people, but Floyd is still quite vivid to designer Charles Gatten.
Gatten’s showroom, ASR Design Center, based here, was destroyed by
a flash flood that incurred heavy non-insured losses ranging from
store fixtures to inventory.
But now, three years later, no evidence of Floyd exists. In
fact, the ASR Design Center will re-open next month to become the
Floor to Ceiling franchise’s 100th store.
“We have totally recovered now and are stronger than ever,”
Gatten says. “And, we decided to add several categories to our
line- up when we moved to our newly remodeled location.”
One of the major changes includes the decision by ASR to become
part of Floor to Ceiling. “We [chose] to look into franchises that
might enhance our operation. Floor to Ceiling was it. They carried
all of the categories we did, except for appliances, and they had
the marketing and management power we needed,” Gatten explains.
The new 7,000-sq.-ft. showroom, part of a 28,000-sq.-ft.
facility located in downtown Franklin, sits on one of the busiest
corners in town, which helps to bring in new clients. “It’s a
city/town of less than 9,000 people [and] the population of the
entire county is less than 40,000. Therefore, we must attract
clients from throughout the region, including western Tidewater and
northeastern North Carolina,” Gatten points out. To target those
homeowners, ASR Design Center works closely with local builders and
contractors, both in private and commercial construction.
Gatten recognizes that design is a visual medium, and uses this
to the firm’s advantage: Once he begins a project with a client, he
focuses on helping the client envision the finished product in as
much detail as possible. As Gatten notes, “We stress hand drawings
in the initial stage of the process [because] we want the customer
to feel involved in the process.”
He continues, “Once basic drawings are conceived, we show them
to the customers. When they’ve seen 3-D photo-quality pictures of
what their kitchens could look like, they often find it
irresistible to stop. They want to have that new look!”
And Gatten wants to give it to them. To that end, ASR’s showroom
offers a wide selection of products. From Wellborn cabinets to
Delta faucets to Maytag appliances, ASR tries to market itself as a
“one-stop shop,” Gatten notes.
Live displays add to the showroom’s appeal, with a functioning
DACOR convection oven frequently used for cooking and baking to add
a “scent-sational” touch. “[We have] a Phoenix Grill that we roll
out onto the sidewalk to tempt the pedestrians with the smell of
steak, ribs, etc.,” Gatten adds.
So, with the past behind him, what does the future hold for
Gatten and his showroom? For one thing, ASR has plans to offer
cooking schools to promote some of its specialty appliance lines,
how-to workshops for the firm’s do-it-yourself clientele and a
monthly orientation and training session for those looking to build
or remodel their houses.
As Gatten sees it, helping other people build the space of their
dreams will help his company build its reputation. “Our reputation
is built on quality,” Gatten sums up. “[Therefore], we install what
we sell. We employ our own ceramic tile, cabinet and carpentry
installers so that we can ensure our customers get consistent
quality without depending on the schedules of outside
As for Gatten, his fondest wish is that this will ensure that
ASR can start to enjoy a flood of new business thanks to its